Cold air intake? New exhaust? Increase power?

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Hey everyone, I've got a '93 Geo Prizm and i've been thinking about doing some (relatively) inexpensive upgrades to boost its power just a bit. I've been told a cold air intake could do this for a pretty cheap price, and also a new exhaust could "regain lost hp"..........i'm relatively uneducated about cars and their workings, so what would getting these things really do? boost power? cost me hundreds of dollars? nothing at all? What else could i do to give it a bit more power for a reasonable price?
Thanks Everyone!~

posted by  Glitch852

Considering the Prizm is such a little economy car, you don't want to do anything.

If you were to ask me, sell the car. Geo went under for a reason, the cars were crap.

posted by  Vassar

Yea basically that would be my advice.....You have a Geo not a Ferrari. Basically Geo was a collaboration in parts with does not really have a "home" automotively speaking and it certainly is NOT worth spending bucks to mod. it when you are dealing with not much potential.

The main way to get more power out of an engine is to think "RAM AIR APPROACH." You want to get more air into the combustion chamber thus increasing the mechanical efficiency in the detonation/volatility of the combustion process......and you want this extra air as cool as possible because with cold air, you have more molecules per cubic area of volume. Hence your Subaru STI's and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo's have a sprayer for the intake charge. Do to this need, there was the birth of turbo and superchargers. Adding a K&N won't get ya much for the buck. You have to modify engines for turbo and supercharging and it is not feasible with a Geo.

Also the reason an exhaust system may show a little improved performance is the "breathability" of the exhaust. Some are highly restrictive causing too much backpressure. There is a fine line between backpressure and performance though. You eliminate all backpressure and that is not good for the engine either. I have a '76 Electra 225 Limited with a 455 GM Big Block and I just had custom "true" duals welded up for her. I removed the pancake catalytic converter which actually acted as a secondary muffler AND had the cat converter component as well inside. This was the source of MUCH restriction on that engine and when removed with a free flow true dual exhaust and a set of high performance tuned Flowmaster 40's in each line, not only does the sound blow you away, but I noticed SIGNIFICANT gains in my low and high end torque output. This was because I removed the restriction, yet the length of the car(hence pipes) and the flowmasters provide JUST enough for the engine to be where it needs to be with respect to backpressure and yet perform much better.

With your Geo, you don't have the cubic inches nor the engineering in the engine to really gain a lot for the money. So back to the point, it ain't worth it. :hi:

posted by  cmeseadoin

haha well thats the thing, the geo's all i got and all i'm gonna get for a while...and i dont mean to put it up against any ferrari's any time soon...i just want a little more power =) Its a better car than most people think, its beaten a couple of civics in its day(dead serious! okay they were like '91, but still.........) and its never given me much trouble.......i've owned it for about 6 years and the only thing thats ever gone wrong is it needed a new radiator once, somethin in there cracked and oil was gettin into the engine coolant...otherwise the thing runs great....anyway, thanks for the help guys! =)

P.s. My friend's sellin me his universal exhaust system for 200 bucks so i'm gonna slap that on there...if i get a new car i'll just move it over to the new one....cold airs a future consideration....

posted by  Glitch852

UNIVERSAL EXHAUST SYSTEM? $200? hmmm... i'd say you need to barter a little more..

posted by  R34RB30DETTV

Hey Glitch,

That's cool bud, I was not trying to shoot you down for what you drive...rather just giving you a little of friendly advise with regards to value for your money by saying it is not really worth it on that car. :-) But I am sure it is reliable and so forth. That being the case, do some light mods to the exhaust and the intake and you might gain a little HP. I have a 96' Pontiac Grand Am and it is my everyday "shit" miles car. The others are in my garage and I drive on nice days. Consumer reports drags it through the coles and so do most people that "claim" to know anything about that car. They say: Oh, it is cheap American trash that is not reliable. Well, I know that car, it knows me and we work well together. I have had no major problems with it while it does have a few quirks, I know them and know how to manipulate them. I do all of my own mechanical work and that car is great for's my bread and butter vehicle keeping miles off of all the others. Therefore, do I care what consumer reports et al. tell me? NOPE! I paid cash for it when I bought it, I maintain it like the rest and it's given me almost 60K miles of reliable and trouble free service since I purchased it in 2001. For something that I can rely on to take road trips with, to drive back and forth the 15 minutes to work and back and to drive around is a great car. As for all these idiots out there up to their assholes in debt but just HAVE to show 30 bucks for every dollar they have and OH GOD, they've got some car that I am just OH so sure is better than mine.....they can have it

SO, the moral to all this is that I am right there with you have something reliable and you like it and such, then let it work for you for now which it sounds like it is doing. :-). I own multiple cars, watercraft and a house and they were all paid for on day one with cash. It's the only way I do things and it is because I use my head and take measures everyday that will benifit me in the future. So enjoy the Geo and HAPPY MOTORING. Let me know if you get any upgrades done. :-) :thumbs:

posted by  cmeseadoin

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